Reason Morning Links: The Deaths of One Writer, Two Banks, 31 Boys, and Countless Newspapers

• J.G. Ballard, RIP.

• The U.S. threatens war with Eritrea.

• A record fine for the Rev. Al Sharpton.

• Two more banks close down.

Three visits from George Orwell.

• A history of abuses at the Florida School for Boys.

Modern trends in the therapeutic state.

• A farewell to dying newspapers—in 1918.

• And from Face the Nation, here's senior presidential advisor David Axelrod on the tea party movement: "I think any time that you have severe economic conditions, there is always an element of disaffection that can mutate into something that's unhealthy." A roundup of reactions to Axelrod here. A leftist offers a semi-endorsement of the tea parties here.
 

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  • ||

    That asshole Axelrod is just dripping with contempt for the people he wants to rule, isn't he?

    The tea party protests are the healthiest thing in American politics since the Vietnam War protests.

    -jcr

  • Kyle Jordan||

    "...into something that's unhealthy."

    Yes, because being upset that you and your future bloodline are being stolen from by the power and money hungry dullards that run this country is something that everyone should just gladly accept.

    Startin' my week off right again Reason!

  • economist||

    "The tea party protests are the healthiest thing in American politics since the Vietnam War protests."

    Except without the hippies, Weathermen, and Yippies.

  • economist||

    Which I think actually makes them healthier.

  • ||

    "I think any time that you have severe economic conditions, there is always an element of disaffection that can mutate into something that's unhealthy."

    What? You mean like a week of riots at a major party convention? You mean like 100s of thousands of people marching on Washington to protest a war and forcing the President to be a virtual prisoner in the whitehouse? You mean demonstrations at campuses all over American one of which resulted in a deadly confrontation with the National Guard? You mean like domestic terror organizations trying to blow up ROTC buildings? You mean unhealthy like that?

    Axelrod and Emmanuel are the two most evil people in America not currently in prison.

  • ||

    I would highly encourage everyone to read the theraputic state article. It left me speechless.

  • ||

    Except without the hippies, Weathermen, and Yippies.

    Did the weathermen actually show up at the protests? I thought they were busy doing themselves in by incompetently building explosive devices.

    -jcr

  • Kyle Jordan||

    John,

    I was actually kind of thinking that the program may do some good until I read this part...

    "Coalinga is the flagship of a relatively new programme created in response to public anxiety about the release of sexual predators from prison. All the men at Coalinga have completed their custodial terms, but instead of being released they've been diagnosed as mentally ill, and locked up again - this time indefinitely and not in prison but in hospital."

    This begs the question, just what all can be or will be classified in the future as "mental illness"

    Very disturbing article all together.

    So I agree with John here. If you haven't read this article, please do so if you can.

  • ||

    "Did the weathermen actually show up at the protests? I thought they were busy doing themselves in by incompetently building explosive devices."


    They showed up at first. That ended when they were going to have a days of rage or some stupid thing in Chicago. Basically they blew up a statute commemerating some Chicago police killed in a riot in the 1880s and then showed up and started breaking stuff and beating people up in the Gold Coast neighborhood of Chicago. It was great fun until the police showed up and kicked their ass. At that point Ayers, slithered off and went underground and the Wetherman became the Weather Underground. They were scum in every sense of the word.

  • ||

    "I think any time that you have severe economic conditions, there is always an element of disaffection that can mutate into something that's unhealthy."

    He's making the tea parties sound better and better.

    ...he sounds afraid.

    ''People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.''

  • ||

    "This begs the question, just what all can be or will be classified in the future as "mental illness"

    Very disturbing article all together."

    It is very disturbing. You can clasify anything as child abuse. Some religous person wants to home school their kids and not teach them evolution and they are called abusors and sent to jail. If they won't give up their views, you just classify them as "mentally ill" and lock them away that way.

    If you think pedophiles should be locked away forever, give them a life sentence. Pretending they are mentally ill to get around the justice system is scary as hell.

  • Kyle Jordan||

    That's exactly what I was thinking. Only, lobotomies or forced drug regiments instead of castration.

  • High Every Body||

    John,

    You mean like 100s of thousands of people marching on Washington to protest a war and forcing the President to be a virtual prisoner in the whitehouse?

    Your idea of "virtual prisoner" is odd. If you are talking about Nixon.

    He left the White House in the evening and spoke directly to individual protestors on the National Mall.

  • ||

    "He left the White House in the evening and spoke directly to individual protestors on the National Mall."


    I didn't know that. I was thinking more of the pictures of the hundreds of buses they put around the whitehouse to keep the protestors out. It was a pretty grim looking sight.

    The irony is that Nixon was in the process of actually getting us out of Vietnam. Oh well, why let the facts get in the way of a good party/riot?

  • High Every Body||

    I didn't know that. I was thinking more of the pictures of the hundreds of buses they put around the whitehouse to keep the protestors out. It was a pretty grim looking sight.

    Sort of cuts down on the Andy Jackson inaugration part effect, doesn't it? Spend a bit on parked busses to prevent having to buy new furniture.

  • High Every Body||

    The irony is that Nixon was in the process of actually getting us out of Vietnam. Oh well, why let the facts get in the way of a good party/riot?

    I don't think the actual organizers wanted us leaving Vietnam with a win. More irony, the South did not lose until the US Congress stopped supplying them with ammo.

  • ||

    HEB,

    I watched an interview with John Mellencamp a few years ago. He was talking about how he went one of the big protests in Washington in the early 70s as a true beleiver. He walked away pretty jaded finding that they were just big parties and an excuse to get laid. I am all for people partying and getting laid. But, the whole boomer myth about the war protests being about making a difference and all that is just bullshit.

  • jtuf||

    From the article about the CA mental hosptial:

    They feel that they aren't mentally ill, that they committed crimes, for which they've done their time, and that they should no longer be locked up. They view the therapy programme as a charade, designed to keep them locked up indefinitely.



    Well, duh. Medicalizing crime is rediculous. If you want to change the sentence to life in prison, fine, but don't side step the legal process just so the public can balance their urge to punish others with their desire to look caring.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Can we get a fallacy name for invoking misreads of Orwell?

  • Fluffy||

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/20/world/20detain.html?_r=1&hp

    Recently released documents indicate that 2 detainees were waterboarded more than 260 times.

    I'm trying to square this with previous CIA statements indicating that one of the suspects immediately gave up everything he knew after being waterboarded for 35 seconds.

    Either that statement [which has been repeatedly used to back up the "effectiveness" of these techniques] was false, or the CIA decided to waterboard someone 82 times just for fun, even though he had already told them everything he knew.

    It's also striking that the memos indicate that one suspect was waterboarded 83 times in August 2002. I'm hoping that's awkward sentence structure on the part of the times, because otherwise it appears we waterboarded a detainee 3 times a day, although we claim he gave up all his information after the first time the technique was used.

  • Fluffy||

    I suppose one other possibility is that we waterboarded hundreds of detainees, but in order to square that with the claim that we only waterboarded two guys, a memo was invented claiming that all the waterboarding sessions were for just those two guys. That's always possible.

  • Needless Pedantry ||

    IT DOES NOT "BEG" THE QUESTION! IT "RAISES" THE QUESTION!

  • ||

    This begs the question...

    No, it does not.

  • Kyle Jordan||

    "Can we get a fallacy name for invoking misreads of Orwell?"

    Ninteen Eight Faux?

    "IT DOES NOT "BEG" THE QUESTION! IT "RAISES" THE QUESTION!"

    I beg to differ.

  • Kyle Jordan||

    Nineteen Eighty Faux is what I meant.

  • High Every Body||

    I beg to differ.

    And I raise.

  • Needless Pedantry ||

    I fold.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Nineteen Eighty Faux it is. The linked Harper's article is full of Nineteen Eighty Faux.

  • jtuf||

    The therapists challenge their "cognitive distortions" or delusions - the big one being that children actually want sex with adults.



    Statutory rape is illegal for three good reasons. First, people below the age of consent aren't yet wise enough to weigh the risk and benefits of sex, so the law makes them take the safest possible route (absence). Second, there is a power imbalance between any adult and any minor that makes consent impossible, just like in an employee-employer relationship. Third, the risk of the minor catching a disease or being physically/emotionally harmed by the encounter itself is much too great to allow those encounters.

    That being said, I think the doctors are over generalizing. I doubt I was the only boy in my high school who got a aroused looking at posters and pin ups of adult super models. Heck, we have state mandated health classes based on the assumption that high schoolers want sex. The doctor's unrealistic view of sexuality hurts their credibility and might explain why only 13 of the hundreds of patients they see actually get cured. Their "treatment" boils down to making the patient confirm the doctor's own unrealistic denial of teenage sexuality. They would have more success if the doctors said, "So what if the teenages approached you? You are the adult. You are the responsible party. You have to say no to keep them safe."

  • Abdul||

    John,

    I used to work in a wilderness therapy program for juvenile offenders. Our organization had 17 different facilites. One of the facilites (where I never worked) treated juvenile sex offenders in a program very similar to the one described in the article.

    With the juvenile offenders that I worked with, we discouraged any possession of pornography or discussion of sex. My colleages in the sex offender program actually had files of soft-core porn to give to the kids. The theory was that the counselors were supposed to train the adolescents to fantasize about healthy sexual relationships.

    One big difference: no matter how badly a juvenile sex offender's therapeutic program went, he was freed at the age of 18 because it was a juvenile-only program.

    My co-counselors seemed to think that their approach was working. In part, with juvenile sex offenders, they are still in the formative years of thier sexual identity. Second, most sex offenders have a history of abuse. By putting the sex offending teens in a residential program, many of the kids were actually being removed from a family or enviornment where they were both victims and perpatrators.

  • Fluffy||

    I think that describing the Blair statement as Orwellian is a reach, and that bit is probably included because the guy's name is Blair [so it's kind of a bad pun on names, too]. But the other two items don't have much Nineteen Eighty Faux about them.

    [Actually, kudos for thinking that up. I think that will stick.]

  • Xeones||

    "Nineteen Eighty Faux." I like that.

    I do not much like David Axelrod. Shut the fuck up, David Axelrod.

  • ||

    nineteen eighty feux - i like it. I can think of at least three threads last week that required this term. I'm sure it will be very useful over the next 4 or 8 years.

  • jtuf||

    American taxpayers are funding a lavishly appointed hospital in which hundreds of child molesters and rapists can idle their days away. The annual cost to keep one person at Coalinga is about $200,000. Multiply that by the 1,500 men who would be in the hospital at full occupancy.



    And California recently released hundreds of criminals early, because they couldn't afford to keep them locked up in prison for the full term.

  • ||

    faux, feux - whatever...

  • ||

    Al Sharpton - 500k fine: But he doesn't have a penny to his name, how can he possibly pay such a fine?

  • The Angry Optimist||

    I know that there is an immediate leap that "confining someone with a fear = Room 101", but that's a terribly reductionist and simplistic read of Orwell. Also, note that Winston was threatened with a rat gnawing through his face, not merely being in a small space with a stinging insect.

    Also, you may or may not like Jay Bybee, but part of attorney's job is to take the facts as described by his client (the CIA, in this case) and, when prompted, discuss all the facets of the law and where the line is. Calls for his impeachment for describing possible interpretations under the law is insanity.

  • Fluffy||

    Second, there is a power imbalance between any adult and any minor that makes consent impossible, just like in an employee-employer relationship.

    Whoa whoa whoa whoa -

    You just asserted that any time somebody has an affair with their secretary, it's rape.

    You can back that shit right up and take it over to feministing where it belongs.

    And California recently released hundreds of criminals early, because they couldn't afford to keep them locked up in prison for the full term.

    They must be lumping all the facility's capital costs in with this initial group of patients, because there's no way they're spending 200k a person. It only costs 40k a person to keep someone on supermax death row. Letting inmates put on talent shows can't cost 160k a year, and I doubt they have one shrink per patient to eat that cost up.

  • ||

    "Can we get a fallacy name for invoking misreads of Orwell?"

    I was thinking the same thing. Comparing the waterboarding of Gitmo inmates who had been captured on the battlefield to the guy in 1984 was, well, Orwellian.

  • jtuf||

    MARIANNA - The men remember the same things: blood on the walls, bits of lip or tongue on the pillow, the smell of urine and whiskey, the way the bed springs sang with each blow. The way they cried out for Jesus or mama. The grinding of the old fan that muffled their cries. The one-armed man who swung the strap.



    No, that's not a discription of the pedophilia, it's a discription of how the Florida state run treatment center for boys treated their wards. Unfortunately, once a professional becomes convinced he is acting in a nonconsenting person's best interest, there isn't much to limit his methods.

  • High Every Body||

    You can back that shit right up and take it over to feministing where it belongs.

    I believe any time a male has sex with a female 'rape' at feministing.

    SF, ruling please?

  • Fluffy||

    I know that there is an immediate leap that "confining someone with a fear = Room 101", but that's a terribly reductionist and simplistic read of Orwell.

    The goal of the two treatments was different, but there's nothing reductionist about comparing the two at all.

    Actually, the fact that in Orwell Room 101 is not meant to gather information, but to utterly break a prisoner's mind and make them morally implicate themselves in the regime itself makes us look a little bit worse, since we applied that technique to mere interrogation.

    Also, note that Winston was threatened with a rat gnawing through his face, not merely being in a small space with a stinging insect.

    Actually, since the rats never touch him, Smith was threatened with what he imagined the rats would do. The entire point is that the phobic's imagination is the most powerful and insidious tool that can be used.

    Also, you may or may not like Jay Bybee, but part of attorney's job is to take the facts as described by his client (the CIA, in this case) and, when prompted, discuss all the facets of the law and where the line is. Calls for his impeachment for describing possible interpretations under the law is insanity.

    If he was an attorney retained by the defense in a war crimes trial for CIA agents, I would expect him to produce work product putting the best possible light on his clients' actions.

    But if a government attorney produces such work product as part of a state conspiracy to commit war crimes, I have no sympathy for him whatsoever. If someone working for a future Justice Department wrote a memo purporting to find a legal basis for sending all Arab-Americans to death camps, when it came time to Nuremburg everyone involved I would not accept "I was just analyzing the law for my client" as a defense.

  • jtuf||

    Fluffy | April 20, 2009, 9:37am | #

    Second, there is a power imbalance between any adult and any minor that makes consent impossible, just like in an employee-employer relationship.

    Whoa whoa whoa whoa -

    You just asserted that any time somebody has an affair with their secretary, it's rape.

    You can back that shit right up and take it over to feministing where it belongs.

    And California recently released hundreds of criminals early, because they couldn't afford to keep them locked up in prison for the full term.

    They must be lumping all the facility's capital costs in with this initial group of patients, because there's no way they're spending 200k a person. It only costs 40k a person to keep someone on supermax death row. Letting inmates put on talent shows can't cost 160k a year, and I doubt they have one shrink per patient to eat that cost up.



    Actually, $200,000 per year sounds cheep for a full time medical facility. Our county run hospital charges the county over $10,000 per week per pychiatric patient. That would annualize to $500,000 per year.

    Even if you disagree with the power imbalance rational behind statitory rape laws, a minor's inability to evaluate the risks of sex and (in the case of young minors) the physical damage they experience from the act would still justify those laws.

  • ||


    You just asserted that any time somebody has an affair with their secretary, it's rape.


    Or maybe that anytime someone hires someone less priviledged it's slavery. HEB beat me too it - but some people believe that penetration=rape. They are often the same people that believe employment=exploitation.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Or, alternatively, the fact that we did it against the "bad guys" (no, I'm not defending this, I'm just saying) and don't do it to dissenting citizens makes us look marginally better.

    As for the death camps thing...well, they just don't compare. There is a current statute that tracks the Convention Against Torture. Bybee did some analysis and came up with a conclusion of what is and is not permitted under the torture statute. I mean, what if he had merely written "Prisoners can be kept in cells that are 42 degrees"? That alone doesn't sound like torture to me, so where are you drawing the line from proper analysis to monstrous facilitation of Nuremburg-esque crimes?

  • ||

    Actually, since the rats never touch him, Smith was threatened with what he imagined the rats would do. The entire point is that the phobic's imagination is the most powerful and insidious tool that can be used.

    Fluffy you right - they don't mention that in the Cliffs notes, though...

  • Fluffy||

    I was thinking the same thing. Comparing the waterboarding of Gitmo inmates who had been captured on the battlefield to the guy in 1984 was, well, Orwellian.

    That's not what is being compared.

    What's being compared is the use of rats on the rat-phobic Winston Smith to the CIA's use of insects on an insect-phobic WOT detainee.

  • ||

    I believe any time a male has sex with a female 'rape' at feministing.

    Not really. They rarely go that far.

    They do, however, promote the idea of "enthusiastic consent" being the standard for "non-rape" sexual encounters. Anything that implies coercion (an extremely broad defintion that includes unequal power relationships) makes "enthusiastic consent" impossible. The boss/secretary scenario is a situation where consent cannot be "enthusiastic" and is a form of sexual assault.

    Those interested may torture this libido with this article.

  • ||

    "their libido"

    I'm really nauseous, leave me alone.

  • ||

    Two things that have come out in the past couple of days tells me that this country is no better than the terrorist we are supposed to be fighting against.
    1) The scale of torture. Apparently some of the victims have been tortured tens if not hundreds of times. 2). BO is arguing the Nuremburg defense for the large scale torturers.

  • Nittany Cat||

    JOHNSTOWN, Pa. -- The John Murtha airport sits on a windy mountain two hours east of Pittsburgh, a 650-acre expanse of smooth tarmac, spacious buildings, a helicopter hangar and a National Guard training center.

    Inside the terminal on a recent weekday, four passengers lined up to board a flight, outnumbered by seven security staff members and supervisors, all suited up in gloves and uniforms to screen six pieces of luggage. For three hours that day, no commercial or private planes took off or landed. Three commercial flights leave the airport on weekdays, all bound for Dulles International Airport.

    The key to the airport's gleaming facilities -- and, indeed, its continued existence -- is $200 million in federal funds in the past decade and the powerful patron who steered most of that money here. Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) is credited with securing at least $150 million for the airport. It was among the first in the country to win funding from this year's stimulus package: $800,000 to repave a backup runway.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/18/AR2009041802128_pf.html

  • libertarian democrat||

    I think it's fallacious to assume preteens and young teens cannot be interested in sex with older teens and adults, never mind each other.

    Also, I may be wrong, but I think chemical castration works really well to prevent repeat offense. Not sure it's the best solution, but I thought it's efficacy was supposed to be pretty high.

    In addition, there are pedophiles who have never offended, some of whom eventually undergo voluntary castration. I have sympathy for those that are attracted only to young kids, but not those that act on it.

  • Fluffy||

    Even if you disagree with the power imbalance rational behind statitory rape laws, a minor's inability to evaluate the risks of sex and (in the case of young minors) the physical damage they experience from the act would still justify those laws.

    That's not what I was objecting to. I was objecting to the fact that you said that a similar power imbalance exists between employers and employees.

    I mean, what if he had merely written "Prisoners can be kept in cells that are 42 degrees"?

    I think that Bybee's is a very marginal case, but at the same time we have to guard against the use of bureaucratic language and procedure as a cover for the commission of war crimes, and in particular have to avoid allowing would-be torturers to simply sham confusion about what their obligations are.

  • ||

    But he [Sharpton] doesn't have a penny to his name

    He acts out of his pure and selfless devotion to the betterment of mankind. Virtue is its own reward.

  • Kyle Jordan||

    "He acts out of his pure and selfless devotion to the betterment of mankind. Virtue is its own reward."

    Holy shit...

    That was hilarious!

  • Atanarjuat||

    The bio of the guy who wrote the "enthusiastic consent" article:

    Hugo teaches history and gender studies at Pasadena City College. His interests include men's work, youth ministry, feminism, marathoning and vegan cooking. He and his wife are active in the animal rights community, and help run an international chinchilla rescue. He blogs at hugoschwyzer.net

    Res ipsa loquitor.

  • ||

    Fluffy | April 20, 2009, 9:55am | #
    I was thinking the same thing. Comparing the waterboarding of Gitmo inmates who had been captured on the battlefield to the guy in 1984 was, well, Orwellian.

    That's not what is being compared.

    What's being compared is the use of rats on the rat-phobic Winston Smith to the CIA's use of insects on an insect-phobic WOT detainee.
    ---------------------------
    But that is like comparing the fact that they FED Winston, just like we did the Gitmo inmates, isn't it? Like "comparing" a pedophile to someone who has consensual adult sex because they both have sex?

    Isn't the most important factor of the torture of Winston that he is a citizen who has not been suspected of any real crime, only "thought crime" certainly not mass murder? Surely the violent actions of Jihadists world wide places them in a vastly different category than "thought crimes", doesn't it? The State didn't exactly make it up to control the population, with apologies to any "truthers".

    Isn't there a difference between "enemies of the State" or Nazis at Nuremburg and waterboarding suspected plotters of mass murder?

    Agree or not that we should waterboard, Jihadists really do want to kill Americans, where Winston simply did not think "right" a big difference, at least to me. The author attempts to turn world wide Jihad into "War with Eurasia".

  • jtuf||

    In addition, there are pedophiles who have never offended, some of whom eventually undergo voluntary castration. I have sympathy for those that are attracted only to young kids, but not those that act on it.

    Fair enough. People are responsible for their actions, regardless of what inner demons motivate them. People are not responsible for the thoughts they don't act on.

  • jtuf||

    Fluffy | April 20, 2009, 10:07am | #

    Even if you disagree with the power imbalance rational behind statitory rape laws, a minor's inability to evaluate the risks of sex and (in the case of young minors) the physical damage they experience from the act would still justify those laws.

    That's not what I was objecting to. I was objecting to the fact that you said that a similar power imbalance exists between employers and employees.



    Oh, I'm glad you spoke up so I could clarify. I meant the power imbalance is similar in direction, not magnitude. The power imbalance between an adult and child is much greater than the power imbalance between an employer and employee. The adult-child imbalance is great enough to justify the law stepping in to protect the child. The employer-employee imbalance is not nearly as great, and if you want to legalize workplace dating, I won't object, although I would prefer to work for a company that has a company policy against it.

  • ||

    Won't somebody think of the chinchillas?

  • Xeones||

    Yo, fuck chinchillas. Chinchillas are mean as hell.

  • ||

    Libertarian GraphJam

    And the answer to "WTF is 'men's work'?"

  • Fluffy||

    The employer-employee imbalance is not nearly as great, and if you want to legalize workplace dating, I won't object

    Workplace dating is already legal, so there is no need to legalize it.

    But that is like comparing the fact that they FED Winston, just like we did the Gitmo inmates, isn't it?

    No, it's not.

    Isn't the most important factor of the torture of Winston that he is a citizen who has not been suspected of any real crime, only "thought crime" certainly not mass murder?

    No, it isn't. And it actually has nothing to do with the question of whether it's appropriate to compare one variety of torture to another. At all.

    And actually, in 1984 at one point a member of the Inner Party tricks Winston into believing he is signing up to join an anti-party revolutionary group, and he is tape-recorded volunteering to commit any number of terrorist acts.

    So basically your argument boils down to, "I think my side should be allowed to torture people as much as it wants, because we're the good guys," and that is exactly why we need a war crimes tribunal - to prosecute all the government officials who thought that and acted upon it.

  • ||

    I would prefer to work for a company that has a company policy against it.

    Why? In my experience the workplaces who have open dating are no different than those that prohibit except in those that prohibit, there is lot's of secrecy about the dating and people tend to hide other things too because it could lead someone to "think" they are involved in a prohibited relationship even if they are not.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    I've found all my wives at the office.

  • High Every Body||

    I've found all my wives at the office.

    I found all of your wives there too. Our chicks shure do get around huh?

  • ||

    I met my wife in my bedroom.

  • High Every Body||

    I met my wife in my bedroom.

    We are talking real world not intertubes world.

  • ||

    William F Buckley once wrote that "pushing an old lady out of the path of an oncoming train and pushing an old lady INTO the path of an oncoming train both involve pushing an old lady but are hardly morally equivalent."

    Are you saying that Jihadists are on the same moral level as Winston was, then? Or just basically "Torture is bad, M'kay, you shouldn't torture, cause torture is bad"?

    And just to clarify, are you saying that the government tricked KSM into admitting a desire to slaughter infidels and commit acts of terror like you describe the government doing to Winston? Since you think they compare, I honestly can't tell.

  • ||

    HEB,

    Don't you ever get tired of being wrong?

    I met my wife for the first time in my bedroom. She was wearing a hot pink bikini and was soaking wet. We met later that night for chicken wings and whiskey. Started dating a few months later and we've been together for 17 years.

  • High Every Body||

    We met later that night for chicken wings and whiskey.

    Now I know this is pure fantasy!

  • Triumph||

    "I met my wife for the first time in my bedroom. She was wearing a hot pink bikini and was soaking wet. We met later that night for chicken wings and whiskey. Started dating a few months later and we've been together for 17 years."

    That is so cool! A very delightful outcome for you and yours. I bet she looked absolutely hot in that hot pink bikini! And wet to boot! Awesome. That is one of the most sexy, romantic "How We Met" stories I have ever heard.

    For me to poop on!

  • Fluffy||

    William F Buckley once wrote that "pushing an old lady out of the path of an oncoming train and pushing an old lady INTO the path of an oncoming train both involve pushing an old lady but are hardly morally equivalent."

    Right. Except that has nothing to do with what we are talking about.

    Are you saying that Jihadists are on the same moral level as Winston was, then?

    No. I am saying that once you say it's OK to torture people who are planning to commit terrorist acts, then you've made it possible for Inner Party types to offer that same justification.

    Or just basically "Torture is bad, M'kay, you shouldn't torture, cause torture is bad"?

    Yes. That is exactly what I am saying.

    There is no level of violence I would not be willing to impose on a fighting enemy who is still in the field. But there is also no level of violence I am willing to impose on an enemy who has surrendered and is in a cage. Period.

    So if the old lady is my enemy and is free and in the field, I would be happy to shoot her in her fucking face. But if the old lady has surrendered and is in a cage, I am not willing to beat her, or shock her, or subject her to sensory deprivation or sleep deprivation, or starve her, or freeze her, or waterboard her, or put her in a box and pour tarantulas into the box. Sorry. And if you ARE willing to do those things, and occupy a government position, you are a tyrant and I would be morally entitled to KILL YOU [like an enemy in the field] until you stop.

    And just to clarify, are you saying that the government tricked KSM into admitting a desire to slaughter infidels and commit acts of terror like you describe the government doing to Winston?

    Um, no. I'm saying they both sincerely had that desire.

    Smith was only "tricked" in the sense that he thought he was talking to revolutionary, and he wasn't. Other than that, his statements about being willing to carry out violent acts was true.

    You may think that Smith was a "good" potential terrorist and that Al Qaeda members aren't. And I would agree with you. But that doesn't matter, because if you say "torture is bad when used on 'good' terrorists, but not when used on 'bad' terrorists" then every government in the world that wants to torture will think you've given them the green light. To the state, all terrorists are bad terrorists.

  • JB||

    All you little whiners keep leaving out who was waterboarded so many times: KSM.

    The main person responsible for 9/11.

    I personally don't think the US government should be torturing many people, but the absolute guilt and absolute knowledge that KSM had made him the perfect case. Torture should be reserved for cases like his. If we are willing to kill thousands of people, I have very few issues with inflicting pain on a few terrorist masterminds.

  • JB||

    Oh, if the US ever captures Osama alive, I am pushing for a Constitutional amendment to actually torture him (as opposed to harsh interrogation).

    If that hurts your vaginas, even better.

  • ||

    I met my wife for the first time in my bedroom. She was wearing a hot pink bikini and was soaking wet.

    Dang, SugarFree, you work fast.

  • Charles||

    Are you saying that Jihadists are on the same moral level as Winston was, then? Or just basically "Torture is bad, M'kay, you shouldn't torture, cause torture is bad"?

    And just to clarify, are you saying that the government tricked KSM into admitting a desire to slaughter infidels and commit acts of terror like you describe the government doing to Winston? Since you think they compare, I honestly can't tell.

    ...

    All you little whiners keep leaving out who was waterboarded so many times: KSM.

    The main person responsible for 9/11.


    So every single person who was detained, we are 100%, are terrorists committed to a million WTC attacks? I simply don't believe it.

    And (ignoring the principle that we shouldn't torture any detainee, for any reason) I don't believe that if we let them start torturing the worst of the worst, that it will be reserved solely for the worst in the future. That is how these things work.

  • ||

    I think any time that you have severe economic conditions, there is always an element of disaffection that can mutate into something that's unhealthy.

    This is a bigger-vocabulary version of Obama's "bitter" and "cling" comments back during the primary season. No one should be surprised.

  • ||

    "And if you ARE willing to do those things, and occupy a government position, you are a tyrant and I would be morally entitled to KILL YOU [like an enemy in the field] until you stop."

    So, you favor the death penalty for government officials who commit mild torture on suspected terrorists or only vigilante "justice" upon the same?

    If that isn't "Orwellian" I don't know what is.

  • Fluffy||

    So, you favor the death penalty for government officials who commit mild torture on suspected terrorists or only vigilante "justice" upon the same?

    If a government becomes tyrannical, any individual subject to that government has the moral right to revolution.

    Revolution, in case you did not notice, consists of killing representatives of the state until the state gives up.

    Read the Declaration of Independence, it might help you out here a bit.

    There have been many periods of American history - maybe the majority of it - when the US has not possessed a legitimate government, and aggrieved parties and their supporters would have been morally entitled to commit acts of revolution, if they chose to do so. Are we in one of those times right now? I leave it to you to decide.

  • ||

    I am quite familiar with the Declaration. I doesn't appear that you are, however. Except perhaps to twist it as a tool to justify your moral preening about "torture".

    Are you then claiming that ANY "tyranny" no matter how small should equate to VIOLENT Revolution? Is that the impart of the Declaration? If you can claim "victimhood" from government it gives you carte blanch to kill members of the same? You are attempting to practice moral relativism. The Declaration hardly places ALL or ANY "tyranny" as a justification for revolution. You appear to read the Declaration as Anarchy writ large, ie, if I am unhappy for any reason that justifies "revolution" and violent revolution at that. Clearly most people do not see it that way, nor did the Founders.

    And what about trials for the alleged torturers? You mean, "after they were found guilty by the OJ jury" right? Even if found guilty, removing them from office would suffice, or even sending them to prison but death?! A civilian would get 5 to 10 but a government official deserves to die?

    In other words, you SEEM to be saying that if a Jihadist tortures someone in the name of Allah, they deserve the protection of the Constitution, where none would be executed, but if someone tortures in the name of protecting the innocent they deserve death according to the Declaration? Tyranny and all that?

  • Mike Laursen||

    I'll concede it's arguable that waterboarding isn't torture because it causes no permanent harm, but slamming somebody's head into a wall?! How could one possibly argue that is not torture?

  • ||

    One would think that the Founders handling of the "Whiskey Rebellion" would indicate that they did not believe that ANY or ALL "tyranny" as a basis for Revolution, which is what you are incorrectly claiming.

    Indeed the Declaration has a considerable list of grievances, instead of an undefined "tyranny" that is basically "I didn't like that", as being the basis for Revolution.

  • Mike Laursen||

    For those of you who aren't from California, Coalinga is a little shithole town with a vaguely dirty sounding name in the central valley about halfway between San Francisco and L.A. It's where people stop to get gas and Burger King when driving between the two cities on a very boring highway. And it's also home to a giant, stinky stockyard that, through sheer chutzpah, is promoted as a second-rate golfing resort destination. You have to understand all of that, to realize how being made a detention center for sex offenders just adds to the place's charm.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Just to clarify, you don't golf in the stockyard. The golf course and hotel is about a mile down the road.

  • ||

    Just to clarify, you don't golf in the stockyard.

    In that case, fuck it; I'm cancelling my reservation.

  • Fluffy||

    Are you then claiming that ANY "tyranny" no matter how small should equate to VIOLENT Revolution?

    No, I'm not. I'm saying that any tyranny creates the moral justification. One might have any number of prudential reasons for not taking advantage of that moral justification and actually engaging in that revolution.

    Example: Any one of the Japanese-Americans interned during WWII had the moral right to resist the state with violence. They did not, for any number of prudential reasons: personal fear, knowledge that any such resistance could not succeed, a belief that the situation would right itself in the end, a belief that the likely outcome of resistance would be even worse, a belief that the governments with which the US was warring were even worse, etc.

    But make no mistake: all persons subjected to injustice have the moral right to resist it. It's really very straightforward, to the point of being nearly tautological. Even if most of the time they will not choose to do so.

    You appear to read the Declaration as Anarchy writ large, ie, if I am unhappy for any reason that justifies "revolution" and violent revolution at that.

    No, I don't. My view is that the state can have no moral authority to commit unjust acts. [Again, this is nearly a tautology.] The range of legitimate state actions in any situation is actually generally quite narrow.

    Another example: any individual in the United States from 1783 to 1865 who chose to engage in violence against the state as a result of the slavery issue would have been morally justified. Why? Because the use of the state apparatus to support the slavery system delegitimized that state apparatus in its entirety.

    And what about trials for the alleged torturers? You mean, "after they were found guilty by the OJ jury" right? Even if found guilty, removing them from office would suffice, or even sending them to prison but death?! A civilian would get 5 to 10 but a government official deserves to die?

    State officials can have trials, if they resign from their offices voluntarily. But if they hold on to their offices and continue to participate in a conspiracy to employ the police power in an illegitimate fashion, then: BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG.

    but if someone tortures in the name of protecting the innocent they deserve death according to the Declaration?

    It's a very morally problematic and dangerous business, to be an instrument of the state. I'm sure there were lots of very nice guys serving as policemen and serving in the armed forces in, say, 1859, and if a slave rebellion had occurred and all those guys got their throats cut, you might say, "Oh, these were all such nice men, did they deserve to die just for signing up to serve their country?" Well, yeah, they kinda did. Sorry. Their government would have put them in the moral wrong, and if they were not aware of that it's a tragedy but doesn't really change anything.

  • ||

    Second, there is a power imbalance between any adult and any minor that makes consent impossible, just like in an employee-employer relationship

    Hold on, there. You're doing some package-dealing here that I have to reject. What you're doing is infantilizing anyone who ever engages in a relationship with someone they work with.

    -jcr

  • ||

    Wow,
    So Fluffy holding court against a plague of torture apologists trying to invent a new "Godwin" category for those who accurately make an Orwell comparison. What a cesspool H & R has become.
    And JB, maybe it will one day be your sister or daughter's vagina we are talking about once you've proudly achieved your apparent goal of making torture globally acceptable again.

  • ||

    # Mike Laursen | April 20, 2009, 3:13pm | #

    # Just to clarify, you don't golf in the
    # stockyard. The golf course and hotel is about
    # a mile down the road.

    The above would have more visceral punch if it said "...a mile downwind."

    I have driven past this area and "visceral reaction" doesn't begin to describe the effect.

  • jtuf||

    John C. Randolph | April 20, 2009, 10:15pm | #

    Second, there is a power imbalance between any adult and any minor that makes consent impossible, just like in an employee-employer relationship

    Hold on, there. You're doing some package-dealing here that I have to reject. What you're doing is infantilizing anyone who ever engages in a relationship with someone they work with.

    -jcr



    jcr, please read my post at:

    jtuf | April 20, 2009, 10:45am | #

    Where I resolved the same question with fluffy. I meant the power imbalance was similar in direction not, magnitude.

  • ||

    Fluffy, your comments reveal that you are not interested in "Revolution". You have NOT described how "a new form of government" is to be created, only if you don't like something it equates to "tyranny". This is patently absurd.

    So while you want to execute politicians you don't like, you haven't expressed a "revolutionary" spirit, only an anarchist one. You have simply acted as a Libertine, not Libertarian, in that anything you don't like you equate with "tyranny" and believe it morally justifies killing anyone associated with government.

    Claiming that this has a moral basis, and attempting to drape it in the Declaration is quite juvenile, but that is the self-identified "Libertarian" anyway, isn't it?

    Your statement that "well, the cops DESERVE to die" is a clear indication of your opinion of LAW, and an absolute evidence that you are clearly NOT a person to lecture anyone about "morality" since you clearly do not understand the meaning of the word, or at least lack any personally.

    Morality is NOT "I do what ever I want", in spite of your apparent belief that it does.

    You would destroy America so that you could preen as being 'moral'. How simply "good" of you. The way you would sacrifice your life to stop tyranny...oh, you didn't really mean that YOU would make any sacrifices for the horrible tyranny that you believe should result in war crimes. You simply meant that you would tattle on the evil government people, and maybe shoot them from a safe distance, since, in your highly attuned state of morality, you know who should die and who gets to live. All based, not on your own personal desire to do anything you wish, but because of the human liberty espoused in the Declaration of Independence, of course. You CARE about LAW and America and really aren't making these claims because of personal desires, but because you are a moral crusader? Please.

    You see, the Founders risked their "lives, fortunes and sacred honor" upon Revolution, while you seem to only be risking your Reason posting rights.

    I will be expecting to read about the "Fluffy Revolution" in the near future. Since it is your moral duty, right?

  • Fluffy||

    Gill, first of all, you need to educate yourself on the difference between a moral right to do something and a moral duty to do it.

    Second of all, you basically just offered as your counterpoint that it would have been wrong for pre-1865 slaves to rebel, because it would have required them to kill military personnel and police, and to defy "law". Is that actually the opinion you're offering here today? Because if it is, you have absolutely nothing to offer with regard to this discussion, and we can effectively call it a day.

    So while you want to execute politicians you don't like, you haven't expressed a "revolutionary" spirit, only an anarchist one.

    Wrong. An anarchist believes that it is impossible for a moral government to exist. I don't believe that at all.

    You, on the other hand, appear to believe that ANY government, regardless of the actions it takes, is legitimate and beyond reproach, because it represents "law". And to that I have to say: Go fuck yourself.

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